Hot on the heels of our previous post about her new novel The Kid, Sapphire sat down for a revealing conversation with NPR, which may give a hint as to whether the book will see a transition to the big screen anytime soon.
We’ve questioned whether The Kid will itself be adapted for film as its prequel Push, which made for a raw account of abuse and despair in Lee Daniels’ Precious. But if movie audiences were disturbed to see the life of Claireece “Precious” Jones portrayed on screen, they may be in for an even bigger shock with the story of her son Abdul in The Kid.
In the interview, Sapphire explains that part of what makes the novel so graphic is the character’s facility with language – the fact that Abdul is able to read, write, and express himself better than his mother could in Push. But the other challenge presented by The Kid is that unlike his mother, Abdul eventually succumbs to the cycle of his abuse and becomes a victimizer himself, leading to scenes of brutality that will be difficult for readers, and possibly viewers, to digest.
When asked why she chose to use such graphic realism with the abuse in the novel, Sapphire says, “Part of the reason why it’s happening is because we don’t want to go there… being unable to even handle this, being unable to even look at the fact that children who have been drawn into certain cycles of abuse are capable of really horrendous things.”
She adds, “I wanted to show the horror of what this is, but I also wanted to show this beautiful little boy who is basically an innocent, and how he is transformed by the horror of his experiences.”
Such horror could be an obstacle for any screenwriter tasked with adapting the story, since the hallmark of a good drama is a sympathetic main character that the audience can root for, and I’m hard-pressed to think of any recent films where a sexual predator is still regarded as the hero.
Still, considering the frenzy that surrounded Precious, whether this novel will make it to film is anybody’s guess. We’re keeping our ears to the ground.
For the full NPR interview, click here.